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Join the Queue, or No EU for Scotland

The UK’s European Commission representative, Jacqueline Minor, has indicated that Scottish independence would not lead to automatic membership of the European Union.

Minor outlined a process whereby Scotland would have to join the list of countries already seeking EU Membership, and although the process could be completed quicker than for other applicants, there is no guarantee of EU membership for independent Scotland.

The comments come in the wake of the UK Government passing the bill enabling the execution of Article 50, in effect formally triggering Brexit and Britain’s withdrawal from the EU. This has led SNP politicians, as well as Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, raising the possibility of a second referendum as Scotland voted to remain in the EU.  62% of Scottish EU referendum voters backed the Remain campaign.

Scotland’s entry into EU membership will not be straightforward. Minor noted that Scotland would have to join the list of countries seeking membership, which include Montenegro and Serbia, although the process could be streamlined because Scotland is already in line with EU law.

However, Minor added that Scotland would be expected to join the Euro should it apply for individual membership of the EU. This would be in direct opposition to the SNP’s campaign promise in the initial Scottish referendum, where they insisted they would retain the Pound. This makes calling a second referendum more problematic for Sturgeon, as the SNP has yet to formally announce any policies for accessing EU membership should it call a second referendum.

With Scottish voters currently unwilling to noticeably shift stance towards the leave campaign, the SNP’s desires for a second referendum could be politically complicated and leave them vulnerable should they fail to win second time around.

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